If you’re an aspiring photographer who is considering starting your very own freelance photography business, then “Congratulations, you are embarking on a fun and lucrative career!” Not only will your freelance photography career allow you to make money doing what you love–taking pictures–you’ll also have the unique opportunity to work in a variety of settings and will meet some fascinating clients. In addition, you’ll significantly improve your photography and technical skills. In this article, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of becoming a freelance photographer and how you can make the most of this exciting opportunity.
First of all, you should know that as a freelancer you can work part or full time. If you work full time, you can expect to work a 5-day, 40-hour a week schedule, and can expect an income of between $26,000-$38,000 a year. If you work part time, you can expect an hourly salary of $35 per hour. Although this will vary depending on your experience and type of freelancing you choose, the above rates tend to be standard. In addition, those photographers that specialize in one discipline of photography tend to make the most money. Some common specialties include portrait, commercial, scientific, news, and even fine arts photography! However, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
Commercial photographers take pictures of subjects, such as merchandise and landscapes. Scientific photographers take pictures of medical data. Photojournalists take pictures of newsworthy events and people. Fine arts photographers take pictures of art. We strongly recommend considering the Cano rebel T6i, which is one of the best low budget cameras out there.
Although you are not required to have a degree in photography in order to become a freelance photographer, many freelance photographers attend photography courses at colleges and private institutions in order to perfect their skills. In fact, many take basic courses in photography, photography techniques, equipment, lightening, etc. In addition, many freelancers receive “on the job training” and intern from well-known freelance photographers and/or established camera or retail stores in order to improve their skills. Then, when they’re ready, they venture out on their own.
As a freelance photographer, you will work as an independent contractor and will be responsible for your own self employment taxes. You’ll need good eyesight, artistic ability and excellent interpersonal communication and hand dexterity skills. In addition, you will be responsible for your own equipment and expenses. A typical day will include:
- Taking, processing and perfecting pictures
- Developing cutting-edge marketing strategies
- Organizing and improving your images
- Scheduling appointments
- Purchasing supplies
- Maintaining client records and establishing long-term client relationships
- Handling billing issues
- Evaluating and troubleshooting photography equipment
In order to get started, you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to specialize in digital or film. If you choose film, then you’ll need a 35mm SLR Camera, high quality zoom lenses, a dedicated flash unit, film, and a relationship with a high quality lab for your film prints. If you choose digital, you’ll need a digital SLR with at least 6 megapixels, high quality zoom lenses, a dedicated flash unit, memory cards, a high quality photo printer, and professional photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop CS.
In order to secure clients, you’ll need some professional business cards and a portfolio. In order to build a portfolio, you’ll need to put your best work into it. Take a look at other professional freelancers that you admire and emulate their style. Compare and learn from them. Try to determine what makes their pictures so great. Did they use a specific focus, color, background, or special lighting? Next, you can begin submitting your work to magazines, stock agencies, greeting card companies, galleries, etc. A really great book to assist you is the 2007 Photographer’s Market Book, which includes over 2000 places to sell your photos.
In conclusion, if you love taking pictures and meeting new people, then you should definitely consider this fun and lucrative career. Although it is a competitive career, you can make a great living doing what you love doing.